Drastic changes in weather may unearth historical relics that were previously inaccessible to humans, explains Natasha Ishak of All That’s Interesting, a news platform dedicated to publishing intriguing stories. For example, Spain’s 7,000-year-old Dolmen de Guadalperal, a previously underwater monument made up of 144 standing stones, was uncovered after a drought occurred in the province of Caceres, appearing for the first time in 50 years.
The Dolmen de Guadalperal is often referred to as the “Spanish Stonehenge” given its similarities with the original Stonehenge in England. The president of the local cultural association Angel Castaño shares, “I had seen parts of it peeking out from the water before, but this is the first time I’ve seen it in full,” according to Alyssa McMurtry of online guidebook Atlas Obscura.
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The monument is spectacular because an individual can appreciate it “for the first time in decades,” adds Castaño, who is well-versed in the ancient structure considering that he is a resident of Peraleda de la Mata, a village located miles away from the archaeological site. He said the magnificent structure was not always submerged underwater.
The Dolmen de Guadalperal was first uncovered by Hugo Obermaier, a German archaeologist, when the area surrounding Caceres was still dry. 40 years later, the archaeologist’s paper about the complex was finally published. The site remained undisturbed until the Spanish government constructed a dam and a reservoir around it. In 1963, the construction of the Valdecañas Reservoir flooded the area, submerging the Dolmen de Guadalperal. The flooding was accepted at that time.
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Primitiva Bueno Ramirez, a specialist in prehistory at the University of Alcalá, states, “You couldn’t believe how many authentic archaeological and historic gems are submerged under Spain’s man-made lakes.” The monument undoubtedly thrilled archaeologists. They conjecture that the stones from the Dolmen de Guadalperal were transported three miles away from the Tagus River, the Iberian Peninsula’s longest waterway.
Currently, Castaño and his organization are hoping to move the archaeological structure to a “higher, drier place” to prevent its eroding surface from sustaining further damage. Time is not on their side, as it is speculated that the drought will be temporary. Hence, it is possible for the Dolmen to be engulfed by the water in one month.
Ramirez cautions, “Whatever we do here needs to be done extremely carefully.” She and her team will need studies that use the latest archaeological technology, which may cost money. Generating profit is easy, however. “We already have one of the most difficult things to obtain—this incredible historic monument.”